Star Spangled Fun 2017

We love the 4th of July in our house, so I can’t let the holiday sneak away without sharing our long weekend fun!


We started the weekend off with Liam’s belt promotion ceremony with Victory Martial Arts.

He moved up in belt rank to Cheeri recommended from Baeoh in the Tiger program. We continue to be so proud of him for his accomplishments, hard work & dedication. Huge thanks to Mr. Johnson and Mr. Valle, as well! Mr. Valle is off to college now, so we will miss seeing him each week, but we’ll definitely be keeping in touch!

Saturday evening, we intended to go mini golfing but the rain thwarted those plans. Instead, we headed to the bowling alley.

The boys were very competitive with one another. My score was awful….hahaha! A good time was had by all, though!

My little artist creating a work of art with his gnome for the front walkway.

We couldn’t let the holiday go by without a celebratory photo. Trying to get both of these boys to BOTH look at the camera was work, peeps!  As you can kinda tell, Timber was not amused with my antics. This shot was Liam’s favorite, so it wins for getting posted 🙂

Monday, it was a just me & little man hanging out while Daddy was visiting his Grandma. So, we had a movie date. Despicable Me 3 was super cute!!

On the 4th, we all got up bright & early and headed out to Cocoa Beach. The weather was gorgeous but it was a scorcher out there.

The sand by our chairs was too hot to play in, so we were building castles by the sea shore ❤

Finished masterpiece by Liam & Daddy….

We decided to forgo our usual trip downtown to see the fireworks this year, and instead, we did some at home. It’s always a little more challenging when holidays fall during the week, so we decided to be creative this year. It worked out well since we’ve actually been seeing quite a bit of fireworks lately on our trips to Disney. So none of us felt like we were missing out {I looove my fireworks!}

photo credit of mommy & daddy by Liam 🙂

Our little firecracker!

You can link up to the posts from previous 4th of July celebrations — HERE

It was a great weekend celebrating our nation’s birthday! ❤

Until next time, friends!

10 Tips For a Safe July 4th!

Happy Birthday, America!

I want to share another post I wrote a few year’s back for Orlando Mom’s Blog, as the tips are still relevant for each & every 4th of July holiday. Many of us choose to celebrate with fireworks (who doesn’t love them, right?), so let’s always remember to be safe while we are having fun celebrating this great holiday for our nation.

When I think of the fourth of July, I think of fireworks. Yes, I realize that we are celebrating the birth of American independence, but ever since I was a child, I have always associated this holiday with those beautiful colors that light up the night sky.

Even at 34 weeks pregnant a few years back, I made my husband take me out in what seemed like 100 degree Florida heat to gather around Lake Eola here in downtown Orlando to see the spectacular fireworks show. Now that we have our little man, we have continued the tradition of returning to see this show each year. I truly love seeing my son’s eyes light up as he watches what he believe to be magic!

Whether you are like our family & choose to go to public fireworks events, or you like to do them at your home, please always remember to be safe! While fireworks are fun, we must not forget that they are dangerous. Only adults should handle them, and children & pets should be closely supervised while around them. Children like to do sparklers, and admittedly, we let our almost 4 year old do his 1st sparkler this past weekend. We made sure we stood right next to him & he held it far away from his body, but I will tell you that this momma was still a tad bit nervous. If you are not comfortable with it, don’t do it. Simple as that. Little arms are short, and sparklers can heat up to a staggering 1,200 degrees. A great alternative to sparklers is glow sticks! I know my little one LOVES them & never turns one down.

Here are my TOP 10 Tips for Fireworks Safety this July 4th:

1. Obey all laws regarding the use of fireworks.

2. Always use fireworks outside and have a bucket of water and a hose nearby in case of accidents.

3. Point fireworks away from your body, other people, homes, and keep away from brush and leaves and flammable substances.

4. Light one firework at a time (not in glass or metal containers), and never relight a dud.

5. Think about your pet. Animals have sensitive ears and can be extremely frightened or stressed on the Fourth of July. Keep pets indoors to reduce the risk that they’ll run loose or get injured.

6. Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and place in a metal trash can away from any building or combustible materials until the next day.

7. Alcohol and fireworks do not mix.  Save your alcohol for after the show.

8. Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.

9. Do not wear loose clothing while using fireworks.

10. Never try to make your own fireworks.

Did you know there is a National Council on Fireworks Safety? Many of my tips were taken from the recommendations on their website — www.fireworkssafety.org

I hope you & your family have a happy & SAFE Independence Day holiday!

Potty Training Boot Camp

June is National Potty Training Awareness Month. As we close out this month, I wanted to take a moment to share a post that was originally posted HERE for Orlando Moms Blog. It was actually the very 1st blog post I wrote for them back in 2014, and as I re-share this in the same month it was first published, I also want to share with you that my time writing with them has now ended. I enjoyed the the posts that I did have the opportunity to share on their platform & will re-share some more in the future ❤

With this particular post, it’s always fun to look back on these milestones and see how far we’ve come. Potty Training is definitely one area of parenting that we all can relate to, no matter what way you decide to tackle it. There is no magic trick. You just gotta go for it! Here’s our story….

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Have you ever heard the old saying life is not a sprint, it’s a marathon? Well, I kind of like to think that our potty training experience has been the same. Here we are, in June, Potty Training Awareness Month, in fact, and well folks, we are in week 15, as we started this journey back on February 21st. So, yes, we are a good 4 months into this process, and it’s just now that I feel comfortable to say that my almost 3 year old son is potty trained. Like, I said… marathon.

We utilized the 3 Day Potty Training method provided by Lora Jensen’s e-book. I have to say that for our family, this method worked extremely well. I took that first Friday & Monday off of work, and we followed Ms. Jensen’s advice to stay home and focus strictly on the training. My little dude did excellent, and we were celebrating after each day that whole weekend (which we nick-named, ‘Potty Training Bootcamp’).

Our first hurdle came when I returned my guy back to daycare on day 5, which he attends full-time, as we are a two-parent full-time working household. I had pre-warned all his teachers that this was coming & even sent him to school with a full written page update of his progress from our boot camp.

However, I have to tell you that the first day and then that week, in general, were a nightmare. Against my wishes, he was put back in a diaper; there were countless accidents, and poor communication between myself & the staff. Not to mention, my little guy had a hard time learning to use the potty at school. He was doing fantastic at home, still, but it was a whole different story at daycare. I honestly did NOT anticipate any of that, and to be quite frank, that threw me for a loop. We pushed on, and it took a good month & a half to two months before we consistently had accident free days at school. That took a lot of working with the staff at his school and sending lots of back of clothes… definitely a tip for any parents starting this process and using childcare… pack extra clothes!! Including socks AND shoes!

Call me a gluten for punishment, but in the midst of this loveliness, I decided that we should start swim lessons… umm, this doesn’t exactly help your child to stay dry at night when they are in the pool gulping water between 6pm to 7 pm four nights a week for 7 to 8 weeks. Yes, genius idea. Our friends were amazed when I was telling them that we were staying dry all night long (P.S., I was too!), but then, since swim lessons started on week 7, he has been wetting the bed almost every night. So not fun for any of us. To make matters even more interesting, he is not a fan of wearing a pull-up at night. I have been torn about this for weeks now about whether or not it would confuse him to wear it at night, as I did not want him to start having accidents during the day, but on the other hand, washing his sheets EVERY.SINGLE.DAY starts to get old, as well. We are trying the pull-ups for now (we refer to them as, ‘night-time undies’) and we shall see how it goes. My hope is that once swim lessons end (this week is it!), that we can possibly start to stay dry at night again.

Another hurdle that has taken some time in this process… going to the potty in public! Oh my… why didn’t any of my mommy friends give me a better heads up about this?!?! There were literally a few times in that first month or two that my hubby and I felt like we couldn’t take our preschooler out in public any more for fear he would have to go. It didn’t matter which one of us took him… we would get in there and then he would refuse. We even bought one of those portable potty seats to use. It didn’t matter. For this, all I can say is that time and diligence is what made it work. At one point, he finally went & we celebrated like crazy. It’s been a piece of cake after that. Whew!

Our last obstacle in this journey has been the dreaded poop. Again, going into this process, I had no idea that pooping on the potty would be an issue for us because my son actually went a few times on the big potty while he was still in his diapers. So, I thought, no problem. I even ignored all the advice our little guide gave us with the tips. Boy, was I wrong! About a month into training, he stopped wanting to poop on the potty and starting going in his undies. We tried offering special treats, candies, you name it. Nothing peaked his interest. Finally, one day while he was at home, and I knew he had to go, I decided to tell him that if he went poopie on the potty, I would give him a small new toy. THAT got his attention. He went into the bathroom and FINALLY pooped! There was huge celebration! I had a few match box cars saved for a rainy day that were in a bag, so I let him choose one. He was thrilled. After that, I told him that if he pooped on the potty, he could get pick out a new toy from the ‘poopie bag’. Yes, I realize I was not very creative with my naming of this bag, but hey, it worked because he has pooped on the potty ever since. I honestly can’t believe it. The next day I had went to the dollar store and loaded up on some random toys to fill the bag, and he has been perfectly happy with his selection. Some friends have asked us how long we plan to do this for. I don’t have an answer for that right now. There have been times when he doesn’t ask for a toy after he goes, so we don’t go to the bag. I’m sure eventually it will phase itself out.

In the grand scheme of things, our story has not been a difficult one, but it’s definitely proven to be an interesting one for us. I hope you have enjoyed reading about our journey and maybe even learned a thing or two!

Bubblebum: Original Inflatable Car Booster Seat + Giveaway

If you have kiddos, then you can relate to the pains of trying to travel with a heavy car seat or booster seat in tow. In fact, I have literally rearranged plans before in an effort to not have to drag ours along with us. You can imagine my excitement when I came across an amazing product for my little one that we can use for his booster seat on the go, AND is both safe & easy to use. Not to mention it’s 100% comfy for him, and there’s fun prints to select from. Friends, let me introduce you to….

 

Award-winning BubbleBum is the original, inflatable car booster seat for kids aged 4-11 years, weighing 40-100 lbs. Weighing in at less than one pound, BubbleBum can inflate and deflate in seconds, making it simple to throw in a backpack or large purse. 

 

BubbleBum’s design allows for fitting three across the back seat of a car, minivan, or SUV. It is the perfect travel companion for every day carpooling, road trips, vacations, cab or Uber rides, fly-ins with car rental, and more. It’s clever design is comfortable for kids to ride on and the “boost” created in its inflated state adds an additional element of safety in the event of an accident, helping to prevent abdominal injury. Kids also love the stylish black and pink chevron designs! BubbleBum helps ensure that EVERY child has a safe booster seat on EVERY ride. BubbleBum has been awarded the Best Bet Honor from the IIHS 6 years in a row. Retails for $29.99 online at http://www.bubblebum.co/us/

 

 

Photo Credit: BubbleBum

 

Photo Credit: BubbleBum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No matter where your travels take you and your family this summer, be sure to remember to pack your BubbleBum! It makes traveling so much easier and not to mention fun especially in their new international designs! Whether taking a road trip or flying to a distant destination, car rentals, taxis and Uber/Lyft rides are a breeze with BubbleBum. No need to lug a heavy, cumbersome booster everywhere! The easy to pack air cushioning of the BubbleBum seat keeps kids comfortable and safe on all car rides! Perfectly design for travel, this booster seat, which weighs less than a pound, is easy to inflate and deflates in just minutes, ready to throw into your luggage or tote bag!

 

Just in time for your summer traveling & vacation needs, I have teamed up with BubbleBum to giveaway one lucky reader of this blog their very own BubbleBum! I am super excited right now, too, because BubbleBum travels the world with limited edition international designs. Introducing the Luck of the Irish, Union Jack and Stars & Stripes BubbleBum Car Booster Seats. They are super fun designs for the boy or girl in your family! The limited edition design collection was inspired by unforgettable travels, near and far. Whether you’re taking a road trip to Yosemite or boarding an airplane to discover Big Ben, London and all the sights beyond, your kids will be safe with BubbleBum booster seats.

 

The IIHS (Insurance Institute of Highway Safety) voted BubbleBum in as the ‘Best Bet’ booster seat for the last six years. And if you need more than one, no problem! BubbleBum car booster seat was designed with belt positioning clips instead of armrests, making it possible to fit three booster seats across the back seat of most vehicles. A taste for travel is all that it takes to make these a worthwhile investment for your kids! Available at Walmart, Target and Amazon, and at the BubbleBum site in these limited edition designs or the original colors (Black and Pink) and retails for $29.99.

Photo Credit: BubbleBum

 

 

Ok, friends…I promised you a giveaway & here are the details:

Please note that this offer is only valid for one winner, one time, and entries are limited to the U.S. only.

Winner will be selected at random by Casademurphy & contacted by email. Name, Mailing Address & Choice of BubbleBum design must be sent to Casademurphy. BubbleBum will mail winner their product. NOTE: the Pink BubbleBum is currently out of stock for approx.6 weeks.

Contest runs today, June 23rd through Wednesday, June 28th at 8:00 am, EST. Winner will be chosen at random and will notified by reply to comments in this post. Winner must respond back to me within 24 hours or prize will be forfeited & another winner will be chosen at random.

TO ENTER:

1. Follow BubbleBum on their social media

 2. “Like” this post

3. In the comments below, share why your family would love to have a BubbleBum inflatable car booster seat.

 

That’s it! Pretty easy, right?!?!

 

 

Photo Credit: BubbleBum

 

 

Good luck & Happy Summer Travels!

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This is a sponsored post with BubbleBum. All opinions posted are my own.

Our Karate Kid

Back in the fall, October to be exact, Liam embarked on a new & exciting journey. Here we are at the end of May, and I can’t believe I am just now writing about it. It’s definitely not from the lack of excitement we all have about it. That’s for sure!

After getting a taste of it from a classmate’s birthday party we attended at the beginning of the school year, he began martial arts classes with Victory Martial Arts.

As a family, we really love that while the physical focus is on teaching taekwondo, Victory’s overall emphasis is on the whole well-being of the student. They teach self-confidence, self-respect, and self-discipline. There are excellent character building skills the kids learn that carry over to both home and school. They also teach bully prevention skills, and while we may not want to think about that happening to our kiddos, it’s also a great positive skill for them to build upon.

I tend to call his classes ‘karate’ but both of my boys are usually quick to correct me 😉

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Since Liam is under 7 years old, he is in the children’s TIGER program with Victory. It’s a bit of a different belt promotion program and the uniforms are slightly different than the adults. However, this program was created so that students who started martial arts very young wouldn’t progress to black belt at too early of an age, and it also builds upon their listening skills, social skills, and team-work skills.

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During his very 1st class, he was issued the white belt. Since then, he has had 3 belt promotions. With each one, there has been both a testing day to ensure he is at the skill level to promote to the next belt rank and then a belt promotion ceremony, where he is presented with his new belt.

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We also love that with his rank he earns, Liam is certified with the American Taekwondo Association (ATA). These certified ranks follow him or LIFE, too! So, even if down the road, he decides to stop his lessons, if he starts them back up, his belt rank will remain the same. So cool!

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He’s been working hard every week. He goes to class twice a week, and with also starting Kindergarten this year, I must admit that this was both an adjustment AND commitment for all of us.

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Liam’s 1st belt in the TIGER program was the ARA belt. He’s currently the BAEOH belt. At the end of next month, June, he will test again, and we’ll soon see if moves up to the next level, which is CHEERI. It’s fun for the kids because each belt rank in this program has an animal that’s associated with it. Ara is a turtle. Baeoh is a tiger, and Cheeri is a cheetah 🙂

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Here’s a few of my favorite videos from his  1st testing….

Liam is such a strong & determined boy. When he broke his arm in February, he didn’t let that deter him. While we didn’t force him to continue class, he wanted to keep going, and his instructors worked carefully with him on modified movements so he didn’t fall behind with his class. In March, he participated in his 1st tournament and earned a few medals. Again, so proud!

We are very thankful to the great staff & leadership at Victory Waterfordlakes! Mr. Johnson & Mr. Valle are amazing, Liam looks up to them very much. We can’t wait to see the skills he will acquire in the months & years to come!

Until next time friends,

Our Easter Egg-Stravaganza! {2017}

We had so much fun for Easter last weekend!

I had put up our decorations around the house earlier in the month, so we had been feeling festive already 🙂

After work & school on Friday, we attended Good Friday services at our church. Brad Gray (@WalkingtheText) was back again to guest teach & his message was awesome! Liam hung out in the Kids Care area and did this cool art project while they learned about the significance of the day. It was a chalk handprint and of course, Simba walked all over it out of curiosity as I was trying to snap this pic 😛

We had a busy holiday weekend planned, and we jumped into it 1st thing Saturday morning. Orlando Mom’s Blog was hosting their 1st ever Egg Hunt out at Lake Meadows Naturals Farm in Ocoee. I loaded the boys up & we headed out to have some fun, and I was also working their craft station for the morning.

Would you believe there are 2000 chickens in this room?!?!

Well, hello little cow! Liam loved exploring the property and greeting all the animals. In addition to this cow, he saw a horse, a llama, ducks, goats, a pig and baby chicks.

This is such a neat little gem tucked away in our Orlando area. I can’t believe I never knew it was here. They raise cage free chickens and sell the hormone free eggs. They have a small general store on site, and even have fresh produce that is grown on property.

Once my work with OMB was done, we did the egg hunt together & had a great time! It was a fun morning!

When we got home, it was time to color Easter Eggs! Trust me when I tell you that this was THE FIRST TIME that we have done this with Liam, and seriously the first time Stephen & I have done this in probably 20 years. It was a learning experience for all of us to say the least, but we had a good time with it! Liam thought it was such a neat thing to be dropping the eggs in the colored water and watching them turn colors! By next year, we will be pro’s 🙂

Liam’s 1st batch of colored eggs for Easter!

It was a long day so we all were tired that evening. It was to bed early, especially so that the Easter Bunny could make his rounds. He was pretty excited with his surprises for Liam this year and they didn’t all fit in his regular basket, so he had to leave out an extra one 😉

We were up before the sun to check everything out. Not surprisingly one of wee-man’s favorite things was this stuffed poop emoji. LOL!

We had to be at church at 7:00 am, so we were out looking for the eggs hidden by the Easter Bunny with a flash light. Hilarious!!

Easter service was great! Here we are in our Sunday Best ❤  …we went for family breakfast at KeKe’s afterwards. It was so yummy!

That afternoon we were invited to our good friend’s Jenni & Delia’s for an Easter Sunday Lunch — Cuban & American style. We had an excellent time catching up with friends & hanging out. Look at these super cute cakes we enjoyed for dessert. They were courtesy of both Delia & Lisa — and let me tell you, these ladies duked it out to make sure they were on point! haha!

After lunch, it was our last egg hunt of the weekend. This one was serious business. I was trying to take pics while he was hunting and he literally told me,”No time for pictures, Mommy!”.

Afterwards, all the kiddos sat on the front lawn & were checking out their loot. It was all business talk, as they even were making swaps & trades. Too funny!

Finally — he posed for me!

Believe it or not, Liam was still not tired once we came home, so we made our very 1st trip to the pool for the year. I don’t think we’ve been in since September-ish. His swim instructor, Ms. Katie would be super proud of him because he jumped right in and swam like it was nothing. He remembered everything she taught him. I know I was very impressed! I could already tell it’s going to be a great summer!

We had a jammed packed weekend, but it sure was another Happy Easter! We are blessed!

Until next time,